Explore Zinfandel with three Ravenswood Zins: Sonoma, Napa and Lodi.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

I had dinner with Joel Peterson when he was in Birmingham a few… (gulp) years ago. Where does time go? Recently when his Ravenswood County Series arrived at my door—for tasting and consideration—I was reminded of the evening with the Godfather of Zin.

“I like Zin because it’s a tough old bird. Treat it with the respect it deserves, and it soars,” Peterson says. He holds a degree in microbiology and was working full time in cancer research when he made his first vintage of Zinfandel in 1976. Through the decades that followed, Peterson grew from a garage producer to the number one producer of Zinfandel worldwide. And from then until now, Peterson’s goal has been to exalt the grape rather than overwhelm it.

Zinfandel is a bold wine that—done well—expresses its locality. The Ravenswood County Series Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 ($12.99) is big and juicy with notes of plum, currant, wild berry and spice. Pair with grilled pepper steak or lasagna. Ravenswood County Series Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 ($15.99) is an intense wine from 50 to 80 year old vines. It is a blend of Zin, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mixed Blacks, with notes of black cherry, blueberry, and plum. Pair with hearty meat dishes and vegetable stews. And Ravenswood County Series Napa Valley 2010 ($15.99) offers notes of black cherry jam, blackberry, cocoa and spice. This wine marries well with strong cheese, red sauce pastas, and grilled sausages.

Published, B-Metro, August 2012

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